I have spent many Ramadan’s in Dubai. When I was 15 my parents took me on a trip to Egypt and part of the tour we visited Coptic Cairo. We visited a church and a synagogue near each other. The church contained a basement where Jesus, Joseph and Mary reportedly stayed during their escape to Egypt. I was amazed to see the diversity of Christianity and how certain sects have even designated new popes as the heads of their churches. I believe by understanding the differences in these sects including the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam are fundamental in achieving peace in the Middle East.
I consider myself agnostic and somewhat of a religious relativist. I believe that the earth is so diverse and that different societies have such different belief systems that a benevolent god wouldn’t punish someone simply because they were born into a different religion. In other words, I understand that if I was born Tibetan I would most likely have been Buddhist and not somehow miraculously find my current Christian God. Despite this realization, I still find myself turning back to the teaching of the Methodist Church. I like to express my gratitude to God for certain things fate has given me. So along with being a “religious relativist” and “agnostic” I also consider myself a Christian because I believe Jesus is the Messiah sent to die for my sins. I understand that these ideas seem to be relatively contradictory and I am still trying to figure them all out myself. By better understanding the historical and cultural foundations of Christianity I hope to better understand my own believe system.